Saturday, August 30, 2008

Still Decompressing

Although it's been 11 months since I retired in my forties, recently, I realized I am still going through decompression. If someone had told me it would take this long, I wouldn't have believed him. Here are the signs I am still decompressing during my initial stages of early retirement:
  1. Getting comfortable with being unconnected. While I tossed the Blackberry on my last day of work, it took me 8 months before I stopped taking a laptop with me on vacations. On our last vacation, I was away from the Internet for 4 days, without any connection. When I was working, the longest I did was only a few hours of not being connected, not including sleeping
  2. Doing physical activity for fun. Throughout my childhood, I participated in two to three sports a year, because I enjoyed them. As I got older, sports became a scheduled activity for staying in shape. I am now starting to do sports again mainly for fun, instead of just for exercise.
  3. Being more spontaneous. I am now less constrained by a planned schedule. If our daughter is having a boring summer day, we'll decide that day to go to a water park. Last week, we decided to go camping a picked a weekend in September. Recently, a neighbor started calling to play tennis on the spur of the moment, because he knows I'm retired and like to play. Instead of being scheduled for other things, typically, I have been able to play within the hour.
  4. Reconnecting with old hobbies and interests. Over the past 20 years I've routinely set aside hobbies and interests in order to put more focus on my career. I had stopped being involved in 95% for my hobbies and interests, which included from stamp/coin collecting, model building, magic and small projects for the house. As I was reducing personal accumulation and came across the materials, I realized how much I missed them.

At this point, I am still spending too much time following our investments. The current volatility of the stock market has not enabled me to distance myself yet. When I am able to disconnect periodically from our investments, I will be on the way to complete decompression from working :-)

For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

This is not financial or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


RetiredSyd said...

I can really relate to this. Today is my 6-month anniversary of retirement (at age 44). I can honestly say, I just started getting my "groove" a couple months ago.

Like you, I think one of the best parts is being able to spontaneously join in fun. We have been invited on last-minute vacations, meals out, tennis dates, and other spontaneous activities, and now we have the time to do them!

Matt said...

I wonder if prepping for retirement would help? I've been thinking about this for a while mostly because my parents aren't too far off retirement and I don't know what they'll do. You spend most of your life slogging through work setting aside your interests... but when you go to pick them back up its hard.

Granted you retired early compared to the retirement age so you can still partake in a lot of things older people can't but if you don't plan and prep at least a bit for your retirement you might end up very bored. Good luck with continued decompression.

RetiredSyd said...

I read a ton of books on retirement, made all the lists of what I wanted to do when I retired, totally planned it all out (or should I say engaged in non-stop fantasizing.)

But when I finally got to that retirement date, I was just too tired to jump into my planned activities. I really needed the down time. It took about 3 months of this before I stopped feeling guilty about it and just went with the wind-down phase. Then a couple months later, I was ready to start doing the other things I wanted to do.

I think after you spend so many years working, it just takes a mental shift that you just have to live through--and everyone has a different pace for getting through that part. I really enjoyed the down-shifting once I stopped telling myself I "should be" doing this or that and just started doing what I wanted to!